Today's workshop

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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Jabes0623 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:55 pm

Best of luck to you sir & thanks for the info.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby greybeard » Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:10 am

Jabes0623 wrote:It's just one of many reasons to do what you need to do today & not waste too much time looking into an unknown future.

Exactly.
Each today and all yesterdays were once an "unknown future" (tomorrow) as well, and heck-- I might fall over dead before noon tomorrow, so I won't make any plans for lunch today or dinner tonight------for that matter, I won't even bother eating breakfast this morning.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby George Monk » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:15 am

I FEEL that the prices will drop. We are at this level because of a perfect storm that changed a lot of agriculture in our area. Missouri had a drought that caused a significant drop in cow calf pairs, Texas drought was devastating for many of those folks. Now California is struggling. At the same time the price of crops sky rocketed. To me that was the most influential factor. The farmers in our area invested in land and machinery. The younger generation spends more time in a tractor than looking at pasture ground. One of the largest and BEST cattle farmers in our area retired and his son plowed up a lot of pasture gournd. Around here you can't find the 40 acres of hay/pasture anymore. There was a time you could cut hay for just maintaining the ground. Now that ground is in crops.
Prices now are high and are going to drop but I don't think they are going to drop below the lows of the recent past. We see $2 feeders now. Probably drop to around $1.50. Still a pretty profitable area!
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Kell-inKY » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:08 am

This is a very interesting thread, I am a beginner and have nothing to say about price up or down but have some comments/questions.

Same thing here, any patch of pasture is being turned to crops, even with the price down. Nobody wants to fool with it, they just want a check, bigger farmers getting bigger, and zero small farmers (who can afford the equipment unless you have the acreage?). Anything remotely flat is rowcrop, the people left doing cattle are on hilly ground.

Will this accelerate the shift to large feedlot type operations? Take the cattle off the grass, turn the pasture into rowcrop, put cattle into a feedlot, feed cattle the grain? (with price of grain lower now) I know that sounds efficient but it freaks me out. Now for my dumb question, where are most of the feeders born that end up on a feedlot type operation? I know they have the big hog operations contained in one place, but I don't know if they have any cow/calf type operations figured out yet for a feedlot? Maybe I'm not explaining that well but just curious if they have or will try to do it all in house like other animals.

On a positive note, there are plenty of people in my area that are willing to pay for beef that came off a local farm, and I keep hearing people asking for grassfed, so maybe I can eventually actually sell something down the road, eventually.... This seems less dependent on what the market is doing, and the people asking about the beef aren't poor like me either. Anybody have a whole operation doing this direct selling or is it too big of a pain? A Local grocery is starting to carry "grassfed" I noticed.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby bball » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:39 am

I will speak only to the last part of your questioning. We sell ALL of our calfs to private individuals. Only thing that goes to sale barn is culls. Having said that, it has taken several years to develop a group of reliable buyers that consistently want 6-10 weaned calfs, year in and year out. Once you start doing it though, word travels fast, and guys line up if you have a decent product to sell. Last year, we filled orders for our top 5 buyers. Ran out of calfs and still had a few fellas wanting calfs, but, the older buyers have been with us while building this, so they are priority. It took years to get to this point, and during those years, we definitely hauled weaned calfs to sale barn.
Once you develop a reliable group of buyers, its very comforting to know they are going to pay premium without haggling or arguing because you are providing a quality product ( weaned, wormed, nutted, vaccinated, etc) thats going to grow for them. I also finished beef for several years and sold it that way too. It can be profitable too, i just got tired of hustling beef at the last minute because someone backs out at the last minute. Theres ways to avoid it, i know, but it just wasnt worth the aggravation for me. I finish 2 every year, one in my freezer and one in my father-in-laws. I much prefer working them, weaning them, delivering them and collecting the money at 6-7 months. :2cents:
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby greybeard » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:28 am

Kell-inKY wrote:This is a very interesting thread, I am a beginner and have nothing to say about price up or down but have some comments/questions.

Same thing here, any patch of pasture is being turned to crops, even with the price down. Nobody wants to fool with it, they just want a check, bigger farmers getting bigger, and zero small farmers (who can afford the equipment unless you have the acreage?). Anything remotely flat is rowcrop, the people left doing cattle are on hilly ground.

Will this accelerate the shift to large feedlot type operations? Take the cattle off the grass, turn the pasture into rowcrop, put cattle into a feedlot, feed cattle the grain? (with price of grain lower now) I know that sounds efficient but it freaks me out. Now for my dumb question, where are most of the feeders born that end up on a feedlot type operation? I know they have the big hog operations contained in one place, but I don't know if they have any cow/calf type operations figured out yet for a feedlot? Maybe I'm not explaining that well but just curious if they have or will try to do it all in house like other animals.

On a positive note, there are plenty of people in my area that are willing to pay for beef that came off a local farm, and I keep hearing people asking for grassfed, so maybe I can eventually actually sell something down the road, eventually.... This seems less dependent on what the market is doing, and the people asking about the beef aren't poor like me either. Anybody have a whole operation doing this direct selling or is it too big of a pain? A Local grocery is starting to carry "grassfed" I noticed.

There's a difference (tho most consumers don't know it) between "grass fed" and "grass fed and finished". Almost everyone here has grass fed cattle.

I don't know the numbers, but a lot of what ends up in the feedlot came out of the local sale rings as steers and cull heifers/cows/bulls
Others, sell their directly to the feedlots thru different programs.

I don't know anything about rowcropping but I would think the equipment buy-in would be at least as expensive for row cropping as cow/calf operations. They may see a bigger quicker $ return, but big tractors, planters, row sprayers, combines, pickers ain't cheap.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Karin » Sun Jun 28, 2015 7:46 pm

Kell-inKY wrote:This is a very interesting thread, I am a beginner and have nothing to say about price up or down but have some comments/questions.

Same thing here, any patch of pasture is being turned to crops, even with the price down. Nobody wants to fool with it, they just want a check, bigger farmers getting bigger, and zero small farmers (who can afford the equipment unless you have the acreage?). Anything remotely flat is rowcrop, the people left doing cattle are on hilly ground.

Will this accelerate the shift to large feedlot type operations? Take the cattle off the grass, turn the pasture into rowcrop, put cattle into a feedlot, feed cattle the grain? (with price of grain lower now) I know that sounds efficient but it freaks me out. Now for my dumb question, where are most of the feeders born that end up on a feedlot type operation? I know they have the big hog operations contained in one place, but I don't know if they have any cow/calf type operations figured out yet for a feedlot? Maybe I'm not explaining that well but just curious if they have or will try to do it all in house like other animals.

On a positive note, there are plenty of people in my area that are willing to pay for beef that came off a local farm, and I keep hearing people asking for grassfed, so maybe I can eventually actually sell something down the road, eventually.... This seems less dependent on what the market is doing, and the people asking about the beef aren't poor like me either. Anybody have a whole operation doing this direct selling or is it too big of a pain? A Local grocery is starting to carry "grassfed" I noticed.


It wouldn't make any economic sense to raise cattle in a feedlot, not when pasturing them for most of their lives is the cheapest way to go. Feeding cattle grain should be kept at no more than the last 4 months of their lives, and before that leave them on pasture, so to speak. The costs associated with pushing for more beef cattle to be raised like hogs and chickens would mean more expenses going into feed, fuel, fertilizer, vet bills, mechanical/equipment expenses, etc. It doesn't matter if grain prices are lower, if the incentives and return on investments to moving the cow-calf and stocker herd to the dry lot and keeping there 365 days a year are not there, why bother? It's only efficient as far as resource-use is concerned because you can feed more cattle on corn per acre than you can grass per acre. But financially and economically it's a crap-shoot.

All feeders are coming from cow-calf operations that are already on grass. The beef production is nothing like the hog or poultry CAFOs, it's more spread-out and a lot more sell-sell for cow-calf, or buy-sell-buy-sell for backgrounding and feedlot operations. With longer times to raise cattle up to finishers or fats, there's more opportunity to sell and buy at two main stages of birth to slaughter. So the guys with the feedlots have to rely on the cow-calf guys to supply them with the feeders. Unless I'm wrong, most if not all feedlot operations don't have their own cow-calf herds to be able to operate and create enough of a supply for their own feedlots that they don't need to buy from other producers.

Don't get me started on the resource-efficiency debate of grass-fed vs. grain-fed. Been through enough discussions with others off this board to know how much BS can get flung around on that. :)
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby HDRider » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:01 am

Karin wrote:
Kell-inKY wrote:This is a very interesting thread, I am a beginner and have nothing to say about price up or down but have some comments/questions.

Same thing here, any patch of pasture is being turned to crops, even with the price down. Nobody wants to fool with it, they just want a check, bigger farmers getting bigger, and zero small farmers (who can afford the equipment unless you have the acreage?). Anything remotely flat is rowcrop, the people left doing cattle are on hilly ground.

Will this accelerate the shift to large feedlot type operations? Take the cattle off the grass, turn the pasture into rowcrop, put cattle into a feedlot, feed cattle the grain? (with price of grain lower now) I know that sounds efficient but it freaks me out. Now for my dumb question, where are most of the feeders born that end up on a feedlot type operation? I know they have the big hog operations contained in one place, but I don't know if they have any cow/calf type operations figured out yet for a feedlot? Maybe I'm not explaining that well but just curious if they have or will try to do it all in house like other animals.

On a positive note, there are plenty of people in my area that are willing to pay for beef that came off a local farm, and I keep hearing people asking for grassfed, so maybe I can eventually actually sell something down the road, eventually.... This seems less dependent on what the market is doing, and the people asking about the beef aren't poor like me either. Anybody have a whole operation doing this direct selling or is it too big of a pain? A Local grocery is starting to carry "grassfed" I noticed.


It wouldn't make any economic sense to raise cattle in a feedlot, not when pasturing them for most of their lives is the cheapest way to go. Feeding cattle grain should be kept at no more than the last 4 months of their lives, and before that leave them on pasture, so to speak. The costs associated with pushing for more beef cattle to be raised like hogs and chickens would mean more expenses going into feed, fuel, fertilizer, vet bills, mechanical/equipment expenses, etc. It doesn't matter if grain prices are lower, if the incentives and return on investments to moving the cow-calf and stocker herd to the dry lot and keeping there 365 days a year are not there, why bother? It's only efficient as far as resource-use is concerned because you can feed more cattle on corn per acre than you can grass per acre. But financially and economically it's a crap-shoot.

All feeders are coming from cow-calf operations that are already on grass. The beef production is nothing like the hog or poultry CAFOs, it's more spread-out and a lot more sell-sell for cow-calf, or buy-sell-buy-sell for backgrounding and feedlot operations. With longer times to raise cattle up to finishers or fats, there's more opportunity to sell and buy at two main stages of birth to slaughter. So the guys with the feedlots have to rely on the cow-calf guys to supply them with the feeders. Unless I'm wrong, most if not all feedlot operations don't have their own cow-calf herds to be able to operate and create enough of a supply for their own feedlots that they don't need to buy from other producers.

Don't get me started on the resource-efficiency debate of grass-fed vs. grain-fed. Been through enough discussions with others off this board to know how much BS can get flung around on that. :)

I sure don't want to stir you up, but I would like to read the discussion. Can you point to some threads? Thanks
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Karin » Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:34 pm

I'll give you the ones that I've been involved on (via username wildrosebeef) Some discussions through Disqus have been had on such things. There was a Mother Jones article (this one: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott ... -meat-smil) that I was involved on discussions on grasslands, but apparently the mods on there didn't like how I was treating one of their spoon-fed trolls (it's not hard to spot whom) and got rid of my posts, many of which I was told were some of the most informed on that piece. Some others related and akin to what I was discussing are on there.

Others:
http://thehill.com/regulation/237767-ve ... eport-says
http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news ... nationwide You might find this one interesting and the corresponding discussion
http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/11/sustaina ... -oxymoron/
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/arc ... rs/388282/
http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/ ... nes-report

There's more like them, but I don't want to overwhelm you with too many links to look at. Just let me know if you want to see any more.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Supa Dexta » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:24 am

We market as grass fed and grain finished and the customers are happy with that. Most know the difference between saying grain and corn finished. And those that want to debate it coming in as a new customer usually leave with some meat and come back impressed. For whatever reason the public is more anti corn than ever, but it doesn't bother me as I don't even grow corn any longer. I grow my own oats and barley, my own grass and my own animals - People are happy with that combo. In general most cattle are finished on small grains in Canada, and in most taste tests people would prefer it over corn anyways.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby highgrit » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:33 am

[quote="Supa Dexta"]We market as grass fed and grain finished and the customers are happy with that. Most know the difference between saying grain and corn finished. And those that want to debate it coming in as a new customer usually leave with some meat and come back impressed. For whatever reason the public is more anti corn than ever, but it doesn't bother me as I don't even grow corn any longer. I grow my own oats and barley, my own grass and my own animals - People are happy with that combo. In general most cattle are finished on small grains in Canada, and in most taste tests people would prefer

I don't care for grass finished beef myself but to each their own. Canadian beef is better than Mexican beef but not anywhere as good as corn feed American beef. Is corn not a type grass?
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Supa Dexta » Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:05 am

*Grain finished not grass. As in oats, or more so barley.

Easy enough to do your own test, Pull 2 identical american animals and feed one corn and one barley - cook em the same, and blind taste test em. I'd almost bet you'd pick the barley fed animal, even with your tastes being used to corn finished.

Corn is cheap and grows cows no doubt about it, but how often is something cheap and the best? And 'not anywhere near as good as corn fed american beef' is absurd. Some guys finished on corn up here, the genetics are largely the same, you think an imaginary line defines the taste of an animal? Plus a large % of our animals end up south of that line get finished and then eaten by you anyways, at what point did they start to taste better? when they crossed that line, or ate the magic corn?

And while we're at it:

http://www.canadabeef.ca/us/en/quality/ ... fault.aspx
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby torogmc81 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:03 am

I wouldn't worry about grass fed. It's overhyped and misleading. Local and family farm raised is plenty marketable and attractive to sensible consumers. City folk are too worried about what their beef is eating. More concern should be how much beef they are eating instead. Moderation. We pasture and grain fed steers and word spread quickly. I have to say it is very rewarding to finish and sell beef. But a lot of pain in butt things to deal with, so we havn't been doing it lately because we are trying to focus our time on A.I. and improving our herd to eventually sell seedstock.
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby 1982vett » Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:20 am

highgrit wrote:
Supa Dexta wrote:We market as grass fed and grain finished and the customers are happy with that. Most know the difference between saying grain and corn finished. And those that want to debate it coming in as a new customer usually leave with some meat and come back impressed. For whatever reason the public is more anti corn than ever, but it doesn't bother me as I don't even grow corn any longer. I grow my own oats and barley, my own grass and my own animals - People are happy with that combo. In general most cattle are finished on small grains in Canada, and in most taste tests people would prefer

I don't care for grass finished beef myself but to each their own. Canadian beef is better than Mexican beef but not anywhere as good as corn feed American beef. Is corn not a type grass?

Tis indeed.......but it's not the grass part being fed to finish. ;-)
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Re: Today's workshop

Postby Lucky_P » Tue Jun 30, 2015 2:21 pm

Holy crap, Karin. The comments following that MJ article you linked almost made my head explode - NY journalists, LA chefs, animal rightist vegans all spouting BS about public lands grazing, desertification, CAFOs, water use, decimation of predators, 'climate change'... from their major metropolitan penthouses, as if they actually had a clue... (tic)How dare you challenge them!
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